Friday, October 27, 2017

Creating Reading Memories

Each week Ruth Ayres extends an invitation to share the celebrations from our week.  Why don't you join the celebration?
Today I celebrate One Book, One District, One Community, a project I have been working on since the beginning of the school year.   The project revolved around the book Wonder, by R.J. Palacio. 

With the help of community sponsors and our school corporation administrators, we were able to purchase over 1,400 books.  Each student in our four elementary schools received their own copy.  Third through fourth grade received the novel, and our pre-school through second grade received the picture book, We Are All Wonders.

Teachers have been reading the book this month and participating in kindness activities.  Today was "Distribution Day," the day the students received their copy of the books.  I had the privilege to be at all four schools and to watch the magic.  

What a day for celebration! 

The smiles on their faces when they carefully held these books in their hands was pure joy.  Many of them sat right down and began turning the pages or tried to find the spot where their teacher was reading.

At one school, I knelt down and talked with a few of the students as their teachers were passing out the books.  Here are some of their reactions:

"Is this book really mine?"

"Do we get to take these home?

"Now I can read ahead of my teacher...but I won't tell what happens."

"I can't wait to take this home and read it to my mom."

The little girl in the pink jacket looked up at me and was the first one to say, "Thank you."  My heart melted because I could tell by her sweet little face that her thank you was so sincere.

As literacy teachers, we spend our days building reading communities, showing our students the importance of having a reading life, and hoping that we somehow provide the spark that ignites their love of reading. 

Our students won't look back and remember our most engaging lesson, or a grammar worksheet they mastered, or a standardized test prep packet.   

Our hope is that for the short time we have them in our classrooms, we create reading memories.  That we read aloud a book that changes them.  That we place a book in their hands that teaches them empathy, or that becomes a mirror where they see themselves, or that gives them hope.  

We want them to look back and say, "Remember that time when we read..."  We want to be memory makers because...

Reading memories trigger reading lives.
(Click to tweet.)

And that is what today was all about. 


  1. It sounds like it's a moment that students AND teachers will always remember. Thank you for sharing! I love hearing their words and seeing these pictures. Amazing!!!

  2. What an incredible day for you, the teachers, and every student! I love the one book community project. I started it in my school before I retired, I don't know if they are still doing it. I hope so!

  3. Such an amazing celebration of community and books. The smiles and conversations are contagious. The photos are priceless!

  4. What a great reason to celebrate! I love that all students get the opportunity to read AND keep this book!

  5. This is beyond awesome and will touch lives in many ways that you will never even know.

  6. I love your pics of students immersed in their books. This is one of those times you'll remember for always! Kudos to you for creating reading memories.

  7. This is a super celebration. A book for each child. Growing readers. Growing kindness. Building memories. I celebrate you for making this project happen.

  8. What a celebration! So great to see these thankful children enjoying a book of their own. :-)

  9. What a fantastic project. I know it will have made an impact in many lives.

  10. Yes, we want students to be memory makers, Leigh Anne. What a wonderful celebration. I just posted mine: